FreshBooks, Guest Posts, and Email Newsletters

If you haven't been following them, the folks at FreshBooks have been busy.

There aren't a lot of things I would change about FreshBooks. No, it's not a full-featured accounting package like QuickBooks, but it's not meant to be, and it would ruin it's charm by going down the path of feature-creep.

One of the things I always wanted was a simple way to keep track of all my clients who were using FreshBooks. I have quite a few clients who use FreshBooks for creating invoices and tracking their time and expenses. In order to pull down the reports I need, I have to login to each client's account one-by-one. At tax time, this gets to be a real pain. Thankfully, FreshBooks has come to my rescue.

On August 19th FreshBooks created Accountant Center, which is a portal to connect me to all my clients in one central location. Once my clients add me as their bookkeeper/accountant, I can pull the reports I need without having to log into their account.

For me, this allows me to quickly pull reports from all my clients from the same central location, without having to jump to multiple sites and manage multiple logins.

For the client, this allows them to give me access to reports without using up a staff account, giving me their login information or access to the rest of their records.

For more information on how this you can read the blog post on their site.

Guest Post

While on the subject of FreshBooks and blog posts...yours truly recently had a guest post published on their blog. If you'd like to give it a read, you can check it out at the link below.

6 ways your accountant can help you achieve your business goals

Email Newsletter

Finally, there is a new way to keep up to date with all things That Bookkeeper. Some of you may get this by email through the FeedBurner link. I have decided to move over to MailChimp. Well...to be honest, I signed up for it a LONG time ago, and am now finally getting around to making the switch. Here in Canada there were some changes made to the spam laws, and I would need to have everyone re-subscribe to the email feed anyway, so I thought this was as good a time as any to make the move.

Obviously, in order to get this to those of you who only read these posts via email, I had to send this last one out through the old link. However, going forward, if you would like to receive these posts fresh off the presses and delivered straight to your inbox, please follow the link below to subscribe. I will be closing down the email portion of the FeedBurner feed right away so anyone who subscribes won't end up getting 2 emails (fingers crossed I don't mess this up).

For those of you who aren't currently subscribed, please sign up. I know my writing schedule is erratic at best, so this ensures you're always getting the latest post without having to check back here every day. For now, you'll just have the latest blog posts sent whenever I post them on the site. Eventually I'd like to also have a (very) occasional bit of exclusive content for those on the list. The main thing is that I won't be flooding your inbox with useless junk you don't need, and (of course) you can unsubscribe at any time.

The other nice thing about getting these in your inbox is that you can easily reply to me directly if you have a question or comment about the post. I get some great feedback from my readers this way. It's so nice getting to hear directly from all of you who read these words. Anyway, here's the link to subscribe. There will also be a link on the right column of the site.

That Bookkeeper - Email Newsletter

Office Nostalgia Revisited

Transient

I wrote a while ago about how much I missed working with a physical stack of paper. Back in the dead tree days, it was so much easier to know where you stood in your workday. If, by 3:00PM, there was still more paper on the left side of my desk than the right (I'm a lefty), I knew I was in for a long day.

Today I miss my old calculator. You know the one. The old, boxy tape calculators that were the staple of every proper desk. Loud enough to wake the neighbours and heavy enough to take out a burglar. Do an image search for bookkeeping and it'll be on the first page.

The sound was equal parts mid-90's IBM keyboard and dot-matrix printer. Show this monstrosity to anyone born after 1989 and you'll be hard pressed to convince them of its merits. I, however, miss these dearly. Just like the big stack of receipts casting shadows on my desk, these old calculators made it feel like you were getting real work done. If you spent a full morning crunching numbers, you would be left with a mile-long coil of paper, a cramped up hand, and a light ringing in your ears.

Unfortunately, there is no way I can justify using one today. Instead of cranking away on a loud keyboard to add up a row of totals, I just write a =SUM() string and hit enter.

Before you email me...yes, I know there are "tape calculator" apps. No, they aren't the same thing.

Here's my ideal scenario. I want a heavy tape calculator. No need to MacBook Air it for me. Make it thick beige plastic with full size buttons. Now add a USB connection and let it work both ways. I want it to work as a laptop numpad AND let it print directly to a role of paper too. Sure, there can be a switch to turn that off, but I want the option to have my totals go directly into Excel and still have that hard copy when I'm done.

Please tell me someone has already done this. Yeah, I could Google it, but it's late and I'm too tired to bother. I'm sure there's a 27-step Instructables article on how to make your own. I can toss it into Evernote with the 436 other projects I swear I'll get around to someday. Until then, I'll just sit here reminiscing about the "good old days".

Don't Deduct These

I ran across a great post today over on Inc.com's site. It's from Kimberly Weisul and Jody Padar, who clearly know what they're talking about.

I write a lot (especially in emails to clients) about what you can and can't claim on a tax return. Kimberly & Jody have written up a great post about some of the most common types of expenses that are (but shouldn't be) claimed on small biz returns. They even add a nice touch of humour, which is something I wish more bookkeepers/accountants would include in their writing.

You really need to read through the full post, but here's a bit of a summary of the basic concept.

Be logical. Your small business return is where you claim business expenses. Before you add something to your return ask yourself one simple question. Was this money I spent in order to support my business? Sure, that 6 pack of socks will eventually find their way to your feet, and your feet will be with you when you do business. That doesn't mean you get to write off your purple knee-highs.

Here's an excerpt.

6 - Clothing or jewelry

You can deduct this if: You're a performer--actor, artist, DJ--and you're buying the clothing or jewelry for a performance. In that case, it's considered 'costuming,' and you can write it off.

This is a great one to mention. I can't tell you how many times I've had people who wanted to write off their work clothes. I have to admit that I can see their point. If you spend a lot of money on suits that you wear exclusively to the office, I can understand why you'd want to claim those costs. Unfortunately, as they point out...unless it's a costume that's used for a performance, it's not a business expense.

Do yourself a favour and read this post. I think you'll find it very useful. If you like it, make sure to follow Jody on her own site. This is a guest post for Inc, but you can find Jody's site here.

No, You Can't Deduct That: 11 Tax Deductions That Can Get You in Trouble